Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight without any planning. Creative teams are operating behind-the-scenes of every marketing campaign and social media video to make sure that the right messages reach the right people at the right time.
These teams employ many different types of creative professionals who specialize in video production, copywriting, web development, graphic design, etc. Ultimately, everyone is working toward the same goal: To produce top-quality content that influences company growth.
Without proper project management, it’s nearly impossible to meet this goal in a sustainable way. Fortunately, this guide will break down five best practices for building and managing a creative team.
1. Identify what roles need to be filled in-house.
When building a creative team from the ground up, priority number one is figuring out which roles you can fill based on the company budget. For instance, if you’re running a startup with limited funding, you might focus on hiring a few integral team members now and expanding the team later.
Since good leadership is pivotal to a team’s success, some of the main roles you may seek to fill first include:
- Creative director. This person leads and oversees all areas of creative production.
- Content strategist. The creative director might carry out this role, but if not, this is someone who plans, schedules, and distributes content.
- Graphic designer. This team member creates all of the visual content a brand needs.
- Copywriter. This person writes and tests all of the copy for the website, the blog, social media, email, etc.
- Video producer. This is one of the first people you’ll hire if you want to bring video production in-house and create your own video ads and organic content.
Once you’ve filled the main roles in your creative team, you can get started on producing and optimizing content for your own brand, for clients, or for anyone else. It’s at this point that you can also implement the next strategy: Collaborating with agencies and freelancers.
2. Collaborate with third-party agencies and freelancers.
As ideal as it would be to bring every aspect of creative production in-house, this isn’t always possible. Instead of overextending the budget or overwhelming your team with too many added responsibilities, a better alternative may be to outsource.
Let’s say you have one content strategist and two copywriters who write all of your brand’s website, blog, and email copy. To increase creative output, you could hire more full-time writers or enlist the help of freelancers to contribute more content to the blog.
Sometimes, working with a third-party specialist is the most affordable and sustainable option for your business at the present moment. As budgets change, you could make the decision to outsource more roles one quarter and less the next.
Outsourcing is a good alternative to making an immediate hire that your company might not be ready for. In the future, you could always bring an outsourced role in-house — this is just one of the ways you can improve your team’s creative workflow.
3. Develop a system for processing creative requests.
Agile systems are crucial in project management, so one of the best things that you can do for your creative team is establish a clear and simple protocol for making, receiving, and processing creative requests.
Whether your team is working together in-person or remotely, it’s a good idea to use project management tools like Asana and Trello to help plan and organize all of your creative tasks. Not only can your team manage their day-to-day tasks easily, but you can also create a backlog section where other departments request new creative content from your team.
Launching and perfecting this type of system may require some trial and error, because each team is a little different. But if you want to make sure your team is starting off on the right foot, it’s always an option to enlist help from an experienced project manager.
4. Communicate openly and often.
Multiple people have a hand in the creative process, so seamless collaboration is key. Everyone on your team needs to be informed, prepared, and updated regularly throughout the entire process — this is something you can only achieve with effective communication.
From in-person meetings to Slack channels to Zoom calls, there are so many ways that creative teams can stay connected in the 21st century. The more channels of communication your team has access to, the better.
Not only is communication important for logistical reasons, but it can also lead to a 20 to 25% increase in team productivity.
5. Set a good meeting cadence, and then improve it.
Whether your creative team is made up of five people or 50, setting a meeting cadence that makes sense for everyone is a great way to support your team in their day-to-day responsibilities — not just the major collaborative projects.
But even though it might seem like an intuitive process to schedule weekly, bi-weekly, and quarterly meetings, many leaders have actually found that 67% of meetings are unproductive.
To correct this issue and keep your creative team engaged, it’s important to audit your meeting cadence on a regular basis and determine what works or doesn’t work (and why). Even small changes like shortening an excessively long meeting can go a long way in improving meeting productivity.
All in all, the best practices outlined in this guide are designed to help you build a stronger creative team and improve existing workflows. Through consistency and strategic project management, your brand’s creative team can and will thrive in a sustainable way.
Mackenzie is a copywriter at Soundstripe, a stock music company that provides filmmakers, creators and advertisers with non copyrighted music such as royalty free music for Instagram (and many more genres).